This is a guest post by Sam Peters.
It is a fact that the US spends more on healthcare than any other country of its kind. The total estimate for national healthcare coverage is up to $2 trillion a year and with costs on the rise companies are looking for ways they can cut budgets without negatively affecting their employees. One such way is through employee wellness programs that get employees into exercise, and helps them to reshape their daily habits into a health conscious lifestyle. By offering incentives for employees to participate in these programs healthcare companies are working with employers to help lower costs more efficiently.
According to one report companies using wellness programs have revealed less absenteeism as well as a higher retention rate for current employees. Other benefits of workplace wellness programs were lowered rates of illness and injuries at work, improved morale and relationships between the employees, and an overall increase in work productivity. Healthcare costs were down between 20-50% and short term sick leave was reduced up to 32%. The participating individuals lost weight, improved their health and stamina, reported lower stress levels and overall felt better about their personal wellbeing.
Different ideas for promoting health within the work environment include allowing the employees to have access to a gym by having one on sight or offering a discount to a local club. Some businesses are starting sports clubs for their workplace which not only encourages health, but fun and team work as well as great marketing for any teams that might wear jerseys. Incentives are always a huge plus as well like running various promotions for weight loss, walking, or other healthy activities and then giving out gift cards, weekend trips, or other prizes that will motivate people to participate. Some firms are even partnering with companies like Keas who specialize in providing fun and enticing wellness programs that can get up to 70% of the workplace involved in healthier living.
Other great things enterprises are doing are to offer health screenings and classes for people to be more educated and aware. One case study showed 185 program participants who had not previously been heart patients of any kind, but tested as high risk through a cardiac screening at work. After six months of working with a wellness program almost 60% of them were retested and found to be low risk and normal. Another document showed a comparison of companies that did these programs versus those that did not and they saw that businesses that did the programs reduced healthcare costs by as much as $1,400 per person, versus the others who did not intercede that only saved $6 per person a year.
The reality is these work programs are not just saving money, but they are saving lives. In addition they are bringing morale back to the workplace and improving work quality and productivity. Any company, regardless of size can benefit from some type of wellness program for their employees. The long term will result in healthier happy employees and a stronger, better business.
Sam Peters is a writer who enjoys writing about career development.